Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Road Trip

Last night around 12:30am, my sweet, still-unemployed-but-the-end-might-be-in-sight, slightly insomniac girlfriend, who hadn't left the house in a day or so, asked if we could drive somewhere. Like Litchfield Park. Flagstaff. Tuscon. San Francisco. Right then. With me half-asleep. Luckily I was still aware enough to decline.

Today after I got back from seeing "The Dark Knight" (absolutely brilliant by the way), she said she needed to go somewhere. Initially I thought about going to a place with a huge chicken out front that our friend Seth had mentioned in Apache Junction, but we didn't know the name. I texted him, but didn't get a response in the short time we had. On our way to AJ, I vaguely remembered that there might be construction this weekend on the 60. Actually, it was the 202, but we didn't find out until we got back. Since we were coming up to the Shea exit on the 101, we decided to head towards Fountain Hills.

When we hit the east end of Shea, we took AZ87 north. I decided to go to Payson for no particular reason except I hadn't been there before. Except for a metal wheelbarrow flying over the 6' tall cement median and landing about 300' in front of us in the fast lane, it was an uneventful trip up.

While driving up the main drag in Payson, we noticed a shop in a small strip mall with a sign advertising "Old Fashioned Sausage & Fresh Meats". Since we were in need of a pit stop first, we stopped into a convenient fast food restaurant. When we came out, it was at least 10 degrees cooler and blowing a gale. We could see dark clouds off to the east that appeared to be coming our way.

We got back on 87 and drove north through Payson to see what was there. We saw a couple little shops that looked interesting and we stopped in after pulling a u-turn at the north end of town.

The shops turned out to be nothing special. The typical touristy, over-priced stuff. Disappointed, we headed to the meat market, Charlie's Old Fashioned Sausage & Fresh Meats, we saw on the way in.

We entered the small store to the strong smell of smoking meat. They were smoking fresh jerky as well as getting ready to close down for the weekend. It was 5pm, and they aren't open Sunday or Monday. A large glass-doored freezer held dozens of varieties of homemade sausages. Their item sheet boasts 35 varieties of homemade sausages.

Their meat cooler was bare as they were in the process of moving the meats into the larger fridge in the back. They did still have slab double-smoked bacon out front. For only $4.49, we had to grab a pound to try. It looked really good, extra-thick cut and meaty. The owner told us he gets it smoked, peels off the layer of fat, and hickory smokes it again himself in the store. He warned us not to try to cook until crispy as that will render out a lot of the good flavor.

He also gave us the sheet of available meats and bundles he has available. It's very extensive. We told him we're from Phoenix and he said if we call ahead, he can have it ready to pickup with a few days advanced notice. We thanked him and left with our booty.

At this point, we are scared that we might really like the bacon. We are going to have it for breakfast tomorrow. We currently drive 80 miles round trip for our beloved Vonhanson's bacon. A 184 mile round trip would be a bit much, even for us. We'd need to rent a uHaul truck and by a MASSIVE quantity to make it worthwhile.

After a few more random stops and exploration, we headed back to the Valley. I'll post an update tomorrow on how the bacon turns out.

Charlie's is located at 405 S. Beeline Hwy Ste. A, Payson, AZ 85541 (928) 474-2085

1 comment:

Andy said...

Saw The Dark Knight as well...loved it!

So how did the bacon turn out?!?

If you guys ever head out to Litchfield Park, let me know! ;-)